Village jockey asked to be event ambassador

Harry Bentley and Bellajeu 2 SUS-140707-170629001
Harry Bentley and Bellajeu 2 SUS-140707-170629001

Carving out a successful career as a jockey is Harry Bentley of Storrington, who this year has been appointed as Ambassador to Goodwood for the 2014 season.

He has ridden a number of top horses for trainer Olly Stevens, who is based at Robins Farm Racing Stables near the Sussex-Surrey border outside Chiddingfold, where last week he spoke to the County Times.

Harry is philosophical about a recent decision which made him second jockey at the stables, following two narrow defeats this season on stable star Lightning Thunder, owned by Pearl Bloodstock and Mohad Al Kubasi, in the English and Irish 2,000 Guineas.

Senior French jockey Olivier Peslier then replaced him in the saddle on Lightning Thunder at Royal Ascot, where Lightning Thunder finished unplaced in a race fraught with problems.

Harry said: “It’s a fickle old game and the best thing I can do is keep my head down and keep going, riding as many winners as possible. I’ll concentrate on doing just that.”

He grew up in Storrington and has been riding since he was three-years-old, joining the Crawley and Horsham Pony Club when he was five, and he also started hunting with his parents around that age.

His father owned and rode a couple of point to pointers and when he was 12, Harry started riding out for Sullington trainer Richard Rowe, before going on to ride in point to points.

He now lives near Newbury but still comes home for a few days when riding out and racing commitments bring him back to Sussex.

Every year he spends the winter break riding in Dubai, with great success- but last winter was exceptional.

He was asked by owner Mark Robinson if he would ride horses for him in Qatar and went on to be Champion Jockey there.

He rode 32 winners there, and these included six in one night in January. His biggest successes were on Dubday in the Qatar Derby and the Qatar Gold Trophy.

He explained: “I’ve been riding in Dubai in winter for a number of years, with good success, but there are often several days without any racing. The Qatar races fitted in with my other Dubai commitments.

“I was out there to earn money and I just flew between the two places and was pleased to have such success.”

Referring to his appointment as Ambassador to Goodwood for the 2014 season, he said: “ Goodwood is my local track and I am happy and excited about this position. I used to come here with my mum and dad and rode my second winner this season there last month too. Glorious Goodwood is a really special occasion.”